Linguistics Phrase Structure Grammars
by
Frank Van Eynde
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0190

Introduction

Phrase structure grammars model the internal structure of a sentence in terms of a hierarchically organized representation. The sentence Every boy has a bike, for instance, is taken to consist of a noun phrase (every boy) and a verb phrase (has a bike), where the former consists of a determiner (every) and a noun (boy), and the latter of a verb (has) and a noun phrase (a bike), which in turn consists of a determiner (a) and a noun (bike). The structure is made explicit by labeled bracketing, as in (S (NP (Det every) (N boy)) (VP (V has) (NP (Det a) (N bike)))). Phrase structure grammars were introduced by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s, building on the tradition of Immediate Constituent Analysis in post-Bloomfieldian structuralism. They played a key role in Transformational Grammar (TG) till the late 1960s, mainly as a descriptive device. The shift toward generalization led to a more abstract version, widely known as X-bar syntax, a staple ingredient of generative syntax throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. The introduction of the Minimalist Program in the 1990s led to further abstraction, involving, among others, the virtual elimination of phrase structure rules. In Non-transformational Grammar, which has its origins in the 1970s, Phrase Structure Grammar continues to thrive, especially in Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) and Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). While phrase structure grammars are mainly used in syntax, they also play a role in other areas of linguistics: they provide a structural backbone for the compositional interpretation of sentences in Semantics and for identifying prosodic units in Phonology. Their role in morphology is a bone of contention: in Transformational Grammar, the smallest units of analysis are morphemes, so that PS grammars extend below the word level. Non-transformational frameworks, by contrast, adopt a lexicalist stance and treat words as the syntactic atoms, leaving the expression of sublexical regularities to other devices, such as lexical rules. The Formal Properties of phrase structure grammars have been studied extensively in mathematical linguistics. They play a key role in computational linguistics and Natural Language Processing. Their relevance for the investigation of human language processing is studied in Psycholinguistics.

General Overviews and Textbooks

Phrase structure grammars provide a formal notation for the analysis of the internal structure of sentences. Their origins and their role in linguistics are traced in Graffi 2001 and Matthews 1993. They currently play a key role in both transformational and non-transformational generative grammar; see Baltin and Collins 2001. Textbooks usually introduce either the one or the other, but there are a few that cover both, such as Borsley 1999 and Carnie 2011.

  • Baltin, Mark, and Chris Collins, eds. 2001. The handbook of contemporary syntactic theory. Oxford: Blackwell.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470756416Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contains a chapter on phrase structure by N. Fukui (pp. 374–406). It traces the role of phrase structure in Transformational Grammar, with special attention for X-bar syntax and the Minimalist Program.

    Find this resource:

    • Borsley, Robert D. 1999. Syntactic theory: A unified approach. 2d ed. London: Routledge.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Introduces the central concepts of syntactic theory in a stepwise way, systematically comparing their treatment in the transformational GB framework and in GPSG/HPSG. Contains exercises.

      Find this resource:

      • Carnie, Andrew. 2011. Modern syntax: A course book. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511780738Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Aims to draw together the best ideas from Minimalism, HPSG and LFG. Contains exercises.

        Find this resource:

        • Graffi, Giorgio. 2001. 200 years of syntax: A critical survey. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

          DOI: 10.1075/sihols.98Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          A broad historical survey, spanning both the 19th and the 20th century, up until and including the Minimalist Program. Immediate Constituent analysis is introduced in the chapter on techniques of syntactic description.

          Find this resource:

          • Matthews, Peter. 1993. Grammatical theory in the United States: From Bloomfield to Chomsky. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511620560Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            A bird’s eye view of the history of linguistics in North America, spanning the period from 1900 to 1990. Traces the development and continuity of three leading ideas: the autonomy of syntax (from meaning), the view of sentences as linear configurations of morphemes, and the view of grammar as a genetically inherited system of universal principles.

            Find this resource:

            Immediate Constituent Analysis

            Phrase structure grammars have their origin in Immediate Constituent analysis. It grew out of the work of Leonard Bloomfield and other American structuralists; see Bloomfield 1933 and Wells 1947.

            • Bloomfield, Leonard. 1933. Language. Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Contains a chapter on syntax that describes in plain English a procedure for segmenting sentences in their constituent parts. Makes a distinction between endocentric (headed) and exocentric (nonheaded) constructions. Expresses a preference for binary segmentation.

              Find this resource:

              • Wells, Rulon S. 1947. Immediate constituents. Language 23:81–117.

                DOI: 10.2307/410382Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                A systematic account of immediate constituent analysis, including a treatment of discontinuous constituents. The smallest constituents are morphemes, the largest are sentences. To represent the structure of a sentence, such as The king of England opened Parliament, Wells uses a diagram in which morphemes are separated by breaks: the || king ||| of |||| England |open ||| ed || Parliament. The number of breaks corresponds to the level of embedding.

                Find this resource:

                Transformational Grammar

                Phrase structure grammars, as defined in Chomsky 1956 and Chomsky 1963, consist of a start symbol (S), a set of syntactic categories (NP, V, Det, . . .), a set of formatives (morphemes and syntactic features) and a set of rules, as in the following: S → NP VP and NP → Det N. These are rewrite rules in the sense that the symbol before the arrow is rewritten as the sequence of symbols that is spelled out after the arrow. Moreover, they are context free in the sense that the symbol at the left is rewritten in the same way, no matter in which context it occurs: The NP symbol, for instance, is rewritten as a sequence of Det and N, no matter whether it occurs to the right of a verb (as a direct object) or to the left of a verb (as a subject). Technically, the context free nature of the rules is captured by the constraint that they have one and only one symbol before the arrow. The lexicon is modeled in terms of rules which rewrite a syntactic category as a formative, as in Det → every, a, some, my, . . . and N → boy, bike, . . . A phrase structure grammar generates phrase markers, i.e., strings of formatives together with their structure.

                • Chomsky, Noam. 1956. Three models for the description of language. Institute of Radio Engineers Transactions on Information Theory 2:113–124.

                  DOI: 10.1109/TIT.1956.1056813Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  The three models are finite state grammar, phrase structure grammar, and transformational grammar. The author formalizes the notion of “phrase structure grammar” and points out its limitations.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Chomsky, Noam. 1963. Formal properties of grammar. In Handbook of mathematical psychology. Vol. 2. Edited by R. Duncan Luce, Robert Bush, and Eugene Galanter, 323–418. New York: Wiley.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Introduces the Chomsky Normal Form format for PS rules. Every rule is either of the form A → B C (binary branching) or A → a, where a is a formative.

                    Find this resource:

                    Early Transformational Grammar (1955–1970)

                    Context free PS grammars play a central role in transformational syntax; but from the start, it was stressed that they do not suffice to model the syntactic properties of sentences. The relation between an active sentence and its passive counterpart, for instance, or between the declarative Every boy has a bike and the interrogative Has every boy a bike, was not modeled in terms of PS rules, but in terms of transformations. Transformations map a phrase marker onto another phrase marker. They can change the order of the constituents, as well as add structure or delete structure. The early versions of transformational grammar only covered syntax and morphology, Chomsky 1957 and Lees 1960. Good textbook introductions are Bach 1964, Ruwet 1967, and Lyons 1968. Postal 1964 argues that the various versions of post-Bloomfieldian structuralism are all committed to some form of phrase structure grammar. With the addition of semantics and phonology, a more complete framework emerged that was known as the Standard Theory, see Katz and Postal 1964 and Chomsky 1965: a context-free phrase structure grammar generates deep structures, and these are related to surface structures by transformations. The former contain the semantically relevant aspects of a sentence and are related to semantic representations. The latter contain the phonetically relevant aspects of a sentence and are mapped onto phonological representations. From this, it follows that transformations must be meaning preserving.

                    • Bach, Emmon. 1964. An introduction to transformational grammars. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The first textbook introduction to Transformational Grammar. It covers the PS component, the transformations and the phonological component, as well as formal properties of the grammar. The chapter on phrase structure also discusses the link with Immediate Constituent analysis. Contains exercises.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Chomsky, Noam. 1957. Syntactic structures. The Hague: Mouton.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        A concise presentation of early transformational grammar. Much attention goes to the issue of why (context free) PS grammars are insufficient to model the syntactic properties of sentences. It should be added that PSGs at the time generated kernel sentences. The formation of complex sentences (with subordinate clauses) was left to the transformational component.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Synopsis of the Standard Theory. The second chapter “is concerned with the base of the syntactic component, and with difficulties that arise from the assumption that it is, strictly speaking, a phrase structure grammar” (Preface, p. vi).

                          Find this resource:

                          • Katz, Jerrold J., and Paul Postal. 1964. An integrated theory of linguistic descriptions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Develops a proposal on how to integrate a semantic component in transformational grammar. The semantic module includes both a lexical component and a combinatorial one, using projection rules.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Lees, R. B. 1960. The grammar of English nominalizations. The Hague: Mouton.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Presents a transformational treatment of nominalization. The destruction of the city by the enemy, for instance, is derived from a deep structure similar to that of The enemy destroyed the city.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Lyons, John. 1968. Introduction to theoretical linguistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139165570Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Textbook introduction to all major linguistic disciplines. Contains a chapter on phrase structure, which presents the Syntactic Structures model.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Postal, Paul. 1964. Constituent structure: A study of contemporary models of syntactic description. The Hague: Mouton.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Describes the Chomskyan treatment of constituent structure in terms of a context-free rewrite system, putting it in the wider context of post-Bloomfieldian structuralism (Bloch, Wells, Harris, Hockett, Lamb). Argues why context-free PSG is insufficient for the syntactic analysis of natural languages.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Ruwet, Nicolas. 1967. Introduction à la grammaire générative. Paris: Plon.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Introduced the key ideas of generative grammar to the francophone world in Europe.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    X-bar Syntax and Universal Grammar (1970–1995)

                                    Between 1970 and 1995, Transformational Grammar went through a series of changes. The division of labor between PS rules, transformations, the lexicon, and the semantic projection rules kept changing. More important, though, than these reshufflings was the shift of attention from construction-specific PS rules and transformations to general constraints on those rules.

                                    From PS Rules to X-bar Schemata

                                    The PS rules were replaced by X-bar schemata. These were introduced in Chomsky 1970 in order to deal with nominalizations, more specifically, in order to capture commonalities between nominal and verbal structures. Jackendoff 1977 is a book-length, in-depth treatment of X-bar syntax. Speas 1990 is a good survey of the development of X-bar syntax throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. Initially, X stood for any of the lexical categories (V, N, A, P). In the 1980s, the schemata were also applied to the functional categories. Bare clauses (S) were treated as the double-bar projection of Infl(ection), a category that contains a finite auxiliary or a bundle of Tense and Agreement features, full clauses (S’) as the double-bar projection of Comp(lementizer), and noun phrases (NP) as the double-bar projection of Det(erminer); see Chomsky 1986 and Abney 1987. Then, functional categories were split in smaller parts, each with their own phrasal projection. Infl(ection), for instance, was split in Tense and Agr(eement); see Pollock 1989. This led to a proliferation of categories and the assignment of elaborate PS trees; see Cinque 1999. For a critical assessment of X-bar syntax, see Kornai and Pullum 1990.

                                    • Abney, S. 1987. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. PhD diss., MIT.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      Proposes to treat determiners as heads of noun phrases. The latter are, hence, no longer NPs, but rather DPs.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Chomsky, Noam. 1970. Remarks on nominalization. In Readings in English transformational grammar. Edited by Roderick A. Jacobs and Peter S. Rosenbaum, 184–221. Waltham, MA: Ginn.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Proposes a lexicalist as opposed to a transformational treatment of morphological derivation. To capture cross-categorial generalizations, PS rules are reformulated in terms of X-bar schemata, and syntactic categories are analyzed in terms of Boolean V and N features. The application of the schemata is limited to verbs, nouns, and adjectives.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Chomsky, Noam. 1986. Barriers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          X-bar theory is extended from V, N, A, P to Comp and Infl, with S as IP and S’ as CP. The monograph explores the properties of the resulting extended set of projections with respect to government and movement.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: A cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            Treats adverbials as specifiers of functional heads, and orders the latter in terms of a universal hierarchy of clausal functional projections. A table in the last chapter mentions thirty-two of those functional projections.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Jackendoff, Ray S. 1977. X-bar syntax: A study of phrase structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              The most accessible treatment of X-bar syntax in TG. It extends the X-bar schemata to the prepositions.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Kornai, M., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. 1990. The X-bar theory of phrase structure. Language 66:24–50.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                A critical examination of the X-bar principles, arguing that they insufficiently constrain the PS rules. As an alternative, the authors reconstruct X-bar theory in a way that makes no reference to the notion of bar-level, but instead makes the notion “head-of” the central one.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Pollock, Jean. 1989. Verb movement, universal grammar and the structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry 20:365–424.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Starting from the assumption that clauses are headed by Infl (S = IP), it proposes to split Infl in two parts, Tense and Agr, each with their own projection (TenseP and AgrP).

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • Speas, Margaret. 1990. Phrase structure in natural language. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-2045-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Marks the last phase in the development of X-bar syntax before efforts began to eliminate it from the grammar.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    From Transformations to Constraints on Transformations

                                                    The shift from construction-specific rules to general constraints on those rules also affected the transformations. Movement transformations were subsumed by one rule, “Move alpha,” whose application was constrained by general principles and island constraints; see Emonds 1976 and Chomsky 1977. Some of the descriptive burden was shifted to the lexicon and captured in terms of lexical redundancy rules; see Jackendoff 1975. At the same time, transformations were no longer assumed to be meaning preserving: semantic representations, now called logical forms (LF), were not linked to deep structures, but to S-structures. In spite of their name, LF representations have little in common with the notations that are used in logic; they are in essence syntactic structures, enriched with thematic roles and information about scope. The key publication of this phase in TG is Chomsky 1981. Good textbook introductions are Radford 1981, van Riemsdijk and Williams 1986, and Haegeman 1994.

                                                    • Chomsky, Noam 1977. On wh-movement. In Formal syntax. Edited by Peter W. Culicover, Thomas Wasow, and Adrian Akmajian, 71–132. New York: Academic Press.

                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Explores the constraints that hold for the fronting of Wh-phrases in English.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Chomsky, Noam. 1981. Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Provides a synopsis of the major developments in transformational grammar since Aspects. The new theory, also known as the Principles and Parameters framework, is based on a small number of independent subtheories: bounding theory, government theory, θ-theory, binding theory, Case theory and control theory. The interaction of these subtheories provides deductive structure to the grammar.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Emonds, Joseph. 1976. A transformational approach to English syntax: Root, structure preserving and local transformations. New York: Academic Press.

                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Presents a typology of transformations and contains the proposal to constrain non-root transformations to be structure preserving. This proposal was very influential.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Haegeman, Liliane. 1994. Introduction to government and binding theory. 2d ed. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to Government and Binding theory, covering all major subtheories. Contains exercises.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Jackendoff, Ray S. 1975. Morphological and semantic regularities in the lexicon. Language 51:639–671.

                                                              DOI: 10.2307/412891Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              The lexicalist treatment of morphological derivation, proposed in Chomsky 1970, triggers another division of labor between the transformational module and the lexicon. To capture morphological and semantic regularities, Jackendoff enriches the lexicon with lexical redundancy rules and shows how they can be used to model morphological derivation, compounding, valence alternation, and idioms.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Radford, Andrew. 1981. Transformational syntax: A student’s guide to Chomsky’s “Extended Standard Theory”. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                A textbook introduction to work in Transformational Grammar in the period from 1975 till 1980 “for all those who find Chomsky unintelligible” (Preface, p. vii). Contains exercises.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • van Riemsdijk, Henk, and Edwin Williams. 1986. Introduction to the theory of grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Very readable introduction to the state of the art in transformational grammar by the mid-1980s. Contains a chapter on phrase structure, in which the X-bar principles are explained and in which the division of labor between PS rules and transformations is discussed.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  Bare Phrase Structure and the Minimalist Program (since 1995)

                                                                  The shift from construction-specific PS rules to abstract X-bar schemata is pushed one step further in the Minimalist Program, where the results of the work on X-bar grammar are deduced from still more abstract principles. Kayne 1994 argues that the X-bar schemata should not be seen as a primitive, irreducible part of syntactic theory, and derives them from a Linear Correspondence Axiom. Chomsky 1995 completely eliminates the X-bar schemata, and the various strata of syntactic representation (from D- to S-structure), replacing them with a single recursive procedure “Merge.” A good textbook introduction is Radford 1997. Publications that specifically focus on phrase structure are Carnie 2008 and Chametzky 2000.

                                                                  • Carnie, Andrew. 2008. Constituent structure. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Traces the treatment of phrase structure in Transformational Grammar from its beginnings up until and including the Minimalist Program.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Chametzky, Robert A. 2000. Phrase structure: From GB to minimalism. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Comparable to Carnie 2008, but more narrowly focused on the period from 1990 to 2000.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Chomsky, Noam. 1995. The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Consists of four essays in which the minimalist approach to linguistic theory is formulated and progressively developed. Within this framework, linguistic expressions are generated by optimally efficient derivations that must satisfy the conditions that hold on interface levels (articulatory-perceptual and conceptual-intentional). Syntax is reduced to a recursive “Merge” procedure.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Kayne, Richard. 1994. The antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          The X-bar schemata are derived from linear precedence facts. All constructions are treated as [Spec [Head Comp]] configurations with a uniform binary branching structure. SVO is treated as the basic and universal order. SOV is transformationally derived.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Radford, Andrew. 1997. Syntax: A minimalist introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139166898Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            A concise introduction to the key concepts of Chomsky’s minimalist program. Presupposes no previous knowledge of syntax. Contains exercises.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            Non-transformational Grammar

                                                                            The claim that phrase structure grammars do not suffice to model the syntactic properties of sentences was not universally accepted. Early attempt to develop an alternative is provided in Harman 1963. By the mid-1970s, a number of linguists started experimenting with grammars without transformations. Bresnan 1978 argued that many of the phenomena that were claimed to require a transformational analysis could be formulated more accurately in terms of lexical redundancy rules. Brame 1978 pioneered with base-generated syntax. Gazdar 1981 showed how PS rules can deal with unbounded dependencies and coordination. The advent of non-transformational models coincided with a shift from rewrite systems to unification-based systems. An overview is provided in Shieber 1986. Simultaneously, phrase markers were replaced by typed feature structures as the main data structure; see Carpenter 1992. Another common trait of the non-transformational approaches is lexicalism: the smallest units of syntax are words, not morphemes or syntactic feature bundles.

                                                                            • Brame, Michael K. 1978. Base-generated syntax. Seattle, WA: Noit Amrofer.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              The first book length proposal for a generative grammar without transformations.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Bresnan, Joan. 1978. A realistic transformational grammar. In Linguistic theory and psychological reality. Edited by Morris Halle, Joan Bresnan, and G. Miller, 1–59. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Argues that the addition of transformations to the grammar makes it less appropriate as a model for language processing, both from a psychological and a computational point of view. Proposes the use of lexical redundancy rules as an alternative.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Carpenter, Bob. 1992. The logic of typed feature structures. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511530098Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Develops the theory of typed feature structures, and applies it to phrase structure grammars. Provides the formal underpinnings for many of the key notions in unification-based PSG, such as typing, inheritance, subsumption, and constraint satisfaction. Primarily aimed at researchers in computational linguists, logic programming, and knowledge representation.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Gazdar, Gerald. 1981. Unbounded dependencies and coordinate structure. Linguistic Inquiry 12:155–184.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    A demonstration of how unbounded dependency, coordinate structure, and their interaction can be modeled in terms of PSG, without making use of transformations. To accomplish this, Gazdar makes use of a device that maps basic rules onto derived rules, as in the ALGOL programming language (Van Wijngaarden 1969). In later work, this device is given the name “metarules.”

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Harman, Gilbert H. 1963. Generative grammars without transformation rules: A defense of phrase structure. Language 39:597–616.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/411954Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Shows that Chomsky’s claims about the insufficiency of PSGs are only valid if one defines PSGs as context-free rewrite systems, as in Chomsky 1956 (cited under Transformational Grammar). Harman develops an alternative definition, adding syntactic features to model context-sensitive phenomena such as agreement, and uses it to model a fragment of English without transformations.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Shieber, Stuart M. 1986. An introduction to unification-based approaches to grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Surveys the concept of unification as it relates to linguistic theory and, in particular, to Functional Unification Grammar, Definite Clause Grammars, Lexical-Functional Grammar, Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, and Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        Lexical-Functional Grammar

                                                                                        In lexical-functional grammar, sentences are assigned a variety of structures. The most important ones for syntax are the constituent structures (c-structure) and functional structures (f-structure). The former are modeled in terms of context-free phrase structure rules. The link with other structures is not modeled in terms of structure changing operations, such as transformations, but in terms of partial correspondences. Special attention is paid to the formal underpinnings and to cross-linguistic applicability, also to nonconfigurational languages. A first synopsis is provided in Bresnan 1982. An update, spanning the period till 1994 is provided in Dalrymple, et al. 1995. Bresnan 2001 is an accessible and authoritative introduction to LFG syntax with emphasis on linguistic substance. Dalrymple 2001 is more comprehensive, covering also semantics and morphology. Falk 2001 is an introductory textbook that also compares LFG with other frameworks. The proceedings of the annual conference on LFG are available online.

                                                                                        • Bresnan, Joan, ed. 1982. The mental representation of grammatical relations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          The book that put LFG on the map. Of special importance are chapters 1 and 4: Joan Bresnan. “The Passive in Lexical theory,” pp. 3–86; Kaplan, Ronald and Joan Bresnan. “Lexical-functional grammar: A formal system for grammatical representation,” pp. 173–281.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Bresnan, Joan. 2001. Lexical-functional syntax. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Provides an accessible, empirically motivated treatment of the LFG architecture. It covers the theoretical ideas that LFG models and discusses the wide range of cross-linguistic syntactic phenomena to which it has been applied. Contains exercises.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Butt, Miriam, and Tracy Holloway King, eds. 1996–. Proceedings of the international conference on Lexical-Functional Grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              The LFG Bibliography is available online.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Dalrymple, Mary. 2001. Lexical-functional grammar. Syntax and semantics 34. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1163/9781849500104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                A comprehensive treatment of all modules of the LFG framework, including semantics and morphology.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Dalrymple, Mary, Annie Zaenen, John Maxwell III, and Ronald M. Kaplan, eds. 1995. Formal issues in lexical-functional grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A collection of papers about formal issues in LFG, covering the period from 1982 until 1994. The papers deal with nonlocal dependencies, word order, the relation between syntax and semantics, and mathematical/computational aspects of the LFG architecture.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Falk, Yehuda N. 2001. Lexical functional grammar: An introduction to parallel constraint-based syntax. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Textbook introduction aimed at students and professionals with a background in generative grammar. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar

                                                                                                    GPSG is the first monostratal generative grammar: it has only one level of syntactic representation, and this level reflects the surface order, much as in the pre-Chomskyan Immediate Constituent analysis. Chomsky’s arguments about the insufficiency of PS grammars were reassessed and the concept of “phrase structure grammar” was reinvented: see Gazdar 1982. Syntactic categories became bundles of syntactic features and PS rules were replaced by immediate dominance rules, leaving the mutual order to linear precedence statements. Moreover, much of what was modeled in terms of transformations was captured in terms of metarules: those rules take a PS rule as input and yield another PS rule as output. An example of what this kind of analysis amounts to is the treatment of the English auxiliary system in Gazdar, et al. 1982. Besides the innovations in the syntactic core, GPSG defined the interface with the semantics in a different way: the semantic representations took the form of type-logical formulae with a model-theoretic interpretation, inspired by Montague Grammar. The key reference on GPSG is Gazdar, et al. 1985. Good introductory textbooks are Bennett 1995 and Borsley 1996. The latter also covers HPSG.

                                                                                                    • Bennett, Paul. 1995. A course in generalized phrase structure grammar. London: University College London Press.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      An outline of GPSG that closely follows the exposition in Gazdar, et al. 1985. Contains numerous suggestions for further reading. Devotes special attention to the relevance of GPSG for computational linguistics and points out some problems in that respect.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Borsley, Robert D. 1996. Modern phrase structure grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Provides a stepwise and very accessible introduction to the ideas that have shaped GPSG and HPSG. Pays ample attention to languages other than English. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Gazdar, Gerald. 1982. Phrase structure grammar. In The nature of syntactic representation. Edited by Pauline Jacobson and Geoffrey K. Pullum, 131–186. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-7707-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Outline of a generative grammar that exploits several of the resources of transformational grammar (PS rules, rule schemata, complex symbols, and feature conventions) but that, crucially, does not employ either transformations or co-indexing devices.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Gazdar, Gerald, Ewan Klein, Geoffrey K. Pullum, and Ivan A. Sag. 1985. Generalized phrase structure grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            The definitive version of GPSG, both in the sense that it summarizes most of what was proposed in the earlier GPSG papers, and in the sense that it was not superseded by any other work in GPSG afterward.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Gazdar, Gerald, Geoffrey K. Pullum, and Ivan A. Sag. 1982. Auxiliaries and related phenomena in a restrictive theory of grammar. Language 58:591–638.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/413850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Demonstration of how phenomena like VP-ellipsis, sentential adverb placement (including negation markers), and subject-auxiliary inversion can be modeled in terms of metarules instead of transformations. It treats the English auxiliaries as verbs, rather than as members of a separate functional category (such as Aux or Infl), and it adopts a lexicalist stance: the syntactic atoms are words, rather than morphemes, obviating the need for affix hopping.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar

                                                                                                              Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar started as a syncretic model, integrating insights from Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, Lexical Functional Grammar, Government and Binding Theory, and Categorial Grammar. It is sign-based in the Saussurean sense of the term: all expressions, from words over phrases to full sentences, are units of sound and meaning; see de Saussure 1916. Their properties are represented in terms of typed feature structures, which simultaneously spell out phonological, syntactic, and semantic properties of signs. The key references are Pollard and Sag 1987 and Pollard and Sag 1994. HPSG is monostratal and surface-oriented, just like GPSG. To model the combinatorics, it does not employ construction-specific PS rules, but Immediate Dominance (ID) schemata, such as the head-complement schema, the head-adjunct schema, and so on. These are comparable to the X-bar schemata of transformational grammar, but they are certainly not identical, since the HPSG schemata apply to surface structures, rather than to D-structures. Topicalized constituents and wh-phrases, for instance, are not generated in situ and then moved, but are added to gapped clauses, in accordance with a head-filler schema. Another difference is that HPSG’s ID schemata do not refer to bar levels, but to degrees of saturation of valence requirements, as captured by the SUBCAT feature. A third difference concerns the treatment of functional categories. Auxiliaries are not treated as belonging to a non-verbal Infl category with its own projection, but as subject raising verbs: see Gazdar, et al. 1982 (cited under Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar); complementizers are treated as markers in Pollard and Sag 1994, and determiners are not treated as the head of the noun phrase, but as head selecting functors; see van Eynde 2006. The splitting of functional categories in terms of smaller units, such as Tense, Agr, Case, Mood, etc., is also absent, since the syntactic atoms must be words (lexicalism). The lexicon consists of a hierarchy of lexemes and rules that relate lexemes to other lexemes (dealing with morphological derivation and valence alternation) or lexemes to words (dealing with inflection). The semantic part of the representations is inspired by Situation Semantics. Interfaces of the syntactic core with other modules of the grammar are discussed in Cann, et al. 2000. Good introductory textbooks are Sag, et al. 2003 and Borsley 1996. The latter also covers GPSG.

                                                                                                              • Borsley, Robert D. 1996. Modern phrase structure grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Provides a stepwise and very accessible introduction to the ideas that have shaped GPSG and HPSG. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Cann, Ronnie, Claire Grover, and Philip Miller, eds. 2000. Grammatical interfaces in HPSG. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  A collection of fifteen papers, focusing on the interface between syntax and other modules of the grammar, including semantics, pragmatics, prosody, morphology, and information structure.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • de Saussure, Ferdinand. 1916. Cours de linguistique générale. Paris: Payot.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Marks the shift from diachronic linguistics that had dominated the 19th century to synchronic linguistics, which was to dominate the 20th century. HPSG’s notion of the sign is Saussurean, in the sense that it is treated as a unit of sound (signifiant) and meaning (signifié). It should be added, though, that the Saussurean sign did not contain syntactic properties, while the HPSG signs do.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Pollard, Carl, and Ivan A. Sag. 1987. Information-based syntax and semantics. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      The first book-length presentation of HPSG. It puts the framework in a broader semiotic perspective, discusses the formal foundations, and develops a sample grammar for English.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Pollard, Carl, and Ivan A. Sag. 1994. Head-driven phrase structure grammar. Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Provides an update of the framework and uses it for in-depth treatment of a range of phenomena, including agreement, raising, control, unbounded dependency, binding, and quantification. At many places, the authors engage in a discussion with transformational grammar, especially GB. Empirical evidence is drawn from a range of languages, including German, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, and Welsh.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Sag, Ivan A., Thomas Wasow, and Emily Bender. 2003. Syntactic theory: A formal introduction. 2d ed. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Provides a step-by-step introduction to a consistent grammar that covers the core areas of English syntax, including complementation, agreement, binding, passives, control, raising, extraposition, and unbounded dependency. Contains exercises, many with applications to other languages than English.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Van Eynde, Frank. 2006. NP-internal agreement and the structure of the noun phrase. Journal of Linguistics 42:139–186.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0022226705003713Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Argues on the basis of the Dutch determiner system that determiners are either adjectival or pronominal, and that the postulation of a separate syntactic category for determiners is as unmotivated as the postulation of a separate syntactic category for auxiliaries. The combination of a determiner with its nominal head sister is treated in terms of the head-functor schema.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            From ID Schemata to Hierarchies of Phrase Types

                                                                                                                            HPSG is a more stable framework than transformational grammar; but over the twenty-five years of its development, there has been one important shift, initiated in Sag 1997, where the combinatorics is no longer treated in terms of constraints on ID schemata, but in terms of constraints on phrases themselves. Phrases are organized in terms of multidimensional hierarchies, and their properties are derived by multiple inheritance; see the contributions in Webelhuth, et al. 1999 and especially Ginzburg and Sag 2000. This paved the way for a treatment of constructions that are often neglected in transformational grammar because of their idiosyncratic nature, but that are extensively studied in Construction Grammar; see Boas and Sag 2012.

                                                                                                                            • Boas, Hans C., and Ivan A. Sag, eds. 2012. Sign-based construction grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              A collection of papers providing an overview of Sign-based Construction Grammar, a synthesis of Berkeley Construction Grammar, and Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. The resulting framework is presented in general terms and applied to a number of constructions that have proved a hard nut to crack, such as the English “Big Mess” construction. It is also shown to provide a framework for historical-comparative syntax and the reconstruction of syntactic patterns in extinct languages.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Ginzburg, Jonathan, and Ivan A. Sag. 2000. Interrogative investigations: The form, meaning and use of English interrogatives. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                This book provides a detailed monostratal treatment of English interrogatives. The analysis includes a multidimensional type hierarchy of phrases, comparable to the type hierarchy of lexemes in earlier versions of HPSG. It also contains a semantic ontology and shows how it can be integrated in the typed feature structure notation.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Sag, Ivan A. 1997. English relative clause constructions. Journal of Linguistics 33:431–484.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S002222679700652XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Replaces the typology of ID schemata with a typology of phrases. Phrase types are organized in a hierarchy and associated with constraints. All headed phrases, for instance, are subsumed by the head feature principle. More specific types inherit the properties of their supertypes and have their own extra properties. This paper initiates the dialogue with Construction Grammar, continued in Ginzburg and Sag 2000, and especially Boas and Sag 2012.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Webelhuth, Gert, Jean-Pierre Koenig, and Andreas Kathol, eds. 1999. Lexical and constructional aspects of linguistic explanation. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    A selection of papers presented at the HPSG conferences between 1994 and 1997. They concern lexical argument structure, lexical and syntactic constructions, binding, case and agreement, semantics and pragmatics, and formal and computational issues.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    The Treatment of Linear Precedence

                                                                                                                                    A bone of contention concerns the treatment of linear precedence: the surface-oriented nature of HPSG favors representations in which the order of the terminals in the tree corresponds to the order of the words in the string, but this complicates the treatment of discontinuous constituents. Movement is not an option in monostratal HPSG, but other devices have been proposed to deal with discontinuity, such as the dissociation of order-in-the-tree from order-in-the-string in Reape 1994, and the introduction of topological fields in Kathol 2000 and Müller 2002.

                                                                                                                                    • Kathol, Andreas. 2000. Linear syntax. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      A combination of insights from HPSG and the analysis of German sentences in terms of topological fields (Vorfeld – linke Satzklammer – Mittelfeld – rechte Satzklammer – Nachfeld). While the syntactic representations are monostratal, they do not always reflect the surface order.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Müller, Stefan. 2002. Complex predicates: Verbal complexes, resultative constructions and particle verbs in German. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Presents a formally explicit unified analysis of complex predicate formation in German. Most attention goes to the clause final verb cluster and its immediate neighbors, such as predicative complements, resultative complements, depictive adjuncts, and particles.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Reape, Mike. 1994. Domain union and word order variation in German. In German in head-driven phrase structure grammar. Edited by John Nerbonne, Klaus Netter, and Carl Pollard, 151–198. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          An influential proposal on how to deal with word order variation in a monostratal surface-oriented framework.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          HPSG for Languages Other than English

                                                                                                                                          Much attention is paid to languages other than English. Japanese is treated in Gunji 1987, German in Nerbonne, et al. 1994 and in Müller 1999, the Romance languages in Balari and Dini 1997, and the Slavic ones in Borsley and Przepiórkowski 1999 and in Wechsler and Zlatic 2003. The proceedings of the annual conference on HPSG are available online. The HPSG Bibliography is available online.

                                                                                                                                          • Balari, Sergio, and Luca Dini, eds. 1997. Romance in HPSG. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Provides a constraint-based lexicalist treatment of a number of phenomena, with special attention for the Romance languages. The topics discussed include argument structure, bounded and unbounded dependency constructions, cliticization, null complements, and the syntax and semantics of nominal expressions. The editors’ introduction sketches a state of the art in HPSG at the mid-1990s.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • Borsley, Robert D., and Adam Przepiórkowski, eds. 1999. Slavic in head-driven phrase structure grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              The Slavic languages show interesting differences with Germanic and Romance languages in terms of word order and morphological structure. This volume proposes HPSG analyses for a range of phenomena, including diathesis, case, cliticization, binding, multiple extraction, negative concord, the complement-adjunct distinction, and the phonology-phonetics interface. Polish and Serbo-Croatian receive most attention, but there are also contributions about Russian, Bulgarian, and Czech.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Gunji, Takao. 1987. Japanese phrase structure grammar: A unification-based approach. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-7766-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Introduced GPSG/HPSG in Japan, where up unitl then, all work in generative grammar was of the transformational kind. The book introduces the basic concepts of GPSG/HPSG and applies them to Japanese, with special attention for control phenomena, unbounded dependencies, and word order variation.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Müller, Stefan. 1999. Deutsche Syntax deklarativ: Head-driven phrase structure grammar für das Deutsche. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  An extensive study of a large range of German constructions from an HPSG perspective. Includes a PROLOG implementation.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  • Nerbonne, John, Klaus Netter, and Carl Pollard, eds. 1994. German in head-driven phrase structure grammar. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    HPSG took root quite quickly in Germany. Developing HPSG-style treatments of German is a challenge, since the language shows a number of phenomena that are absent from English, including clustering, scrambling, partial VP fronting, impersonal passives, intricate patterns of NP-internal agreement, and case. They are all treated in this volume.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Proceedings of the International Conference on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. 2000–. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      The HPSG Bibliography is available online.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Wechsler, Stephen, and Larisa Zlatic. 2003. The many faces of agreement. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Starting from the distinction between concord, index agreement, and pragmatic agreement, as argued for in Pollard and Sag 1994 (cited under Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar), the authors discuss a host of agreement phenomena in Serbian/Croatian and French.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        Interfaces

                                                                                                                                                        This section covers the interface between PS syntax and semantics, on the one hand, and the interface between PS syntax and phonology, on the other hand.

                                                                                                                                                        Semantics

                                                                                                                                                        The structures that are assigned by PSGs provide a starting point for the assignment of semantic representations. In Transformational Grammar, these representations take the form of PS trees, augmented with lexical semantic features and thematic relations. The oldest proposal is in Katz and Fodor 1963. Fodor 1977 provides an overview of the period until 1976. Since the late 1970s, the semantic representations are called logical forms (LF) and contain information about scope, but they are cast in a notation that has more in common with PS trees than with logical formalisms, and there is no model-theoretic interpretation. The assignment of representations with a model-theoretic interpretation was pioneered in Montague grammar (MG), a mix of lambda-calculus and intensional logic, built on Categorial Grammar, outside the PSG tradition; see Montague 1970. Montague’s papers on natural language are dense and hard to read, but Dowty, et al. 1981 is an excellent introduction. MG was taken on board in GPSG, which systematically related monostratal syntactic representations to type-logical representations with a model-theoretic interpretation. The semantic representations in LFG and HPSG are inspired by Situation Semantics; see Barwise and Perry 1983. A proposal on how to integrate situation schemata in LFG is developed in Fenstad, et al. 1987. Ginzburg and Sag 2000 (cited under From ID Schemata to Hierarchies of Phrase Types) proposes a way of integrating the ontology of situation theory in the typed feature structures of HPSG, with special attention for non-declarative sentences. Conversely, theories that mainly focus on semantic issues occasionally use PSGs as a syntactic front end. Discourse Representation Theory, for instance, employs a GPSG-style syntactic module from which it derives discourse representation structures; see Kamp and Reyle 1993.

                                                                                                                                                        • Barwise, Jon, and John Perry. 1983. Situations and attitudes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          The classical reference for situation semantics. It dismisses the possible world semantics of intensional logic as psychologically unrealistic (as it presupposes logical omniscience) and proposes an alternative in which utterances are interpreted with respect to situations. It led to a richer ontology than classical logic, which made it attractive for inclusion in linguistic semantics.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Dowty, David R., Robert Wall, and Stanley Peters. 1981. Introduction to Montague semantics. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            A clear and accessible introduction to Montague’s papers on natural language.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Fenstad, Jens Erik, Per-Kristian Halvorsen, Tore Langholm, and Johan van Benthem. 1987. Situations, language and logic. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Proposal on how situation schemata can be related to LFG-style syntactic representations (using constraint equations) and on how the schemata can be assigned a model-theoretic interpretation.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Fodor, Janet D. 1977. Semantics: Theories of meaning in generative grammar. New York: Crowell.

                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                A textbook that examines the leading semantic ideas in transformational grammar, from their first manifestation in Katz and Fodor 1963 until 1976. It discusses the controversy between interpretive and generative semantics in the late 1960s and has ample attention for the shift from the Standard Theory to the Extended Standard Theory.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Kamp, Hans, and Uwe Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic: Introduction to modeltheoretic semantics of natural language, formal logic and discourse representation theory. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Employs a GPSG-style grammar to generate the input for a procedure that constructs discourse representation structures. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  • Katz, Jerrold J., and Jerry A. Fodor. 1963. The structure of a semantic theory. Language 39:170–210.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/411200Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    The first proposal on how to integrate a semantic component in transformational grammar. It was taken on board in the Standard Theory; see Chomsky 1965, cited under Early Transformational Grammar (1955–1970).

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    • Montague, Richard. 1970. Universal grammar. Theoria 36:373–398.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-2567.1970.tb00434.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Building on categorial grammar, on the one hand, and a mixture of lambda calculus and intensional logic, on the other hand, Richard Montague demonstrated how English sentences can be analyzed and compositionally interpreted in model-theoretic terms.

                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                      Phonology

                                                                                                                                                                      Selkirk 2011 provides a good overview of the various proposals that have been made about the relation between syntactic structure and phonological structure since the late 20th century. Nespor and Vogel 1985 is a book-length treatment in which the autonomy of phonology is emphasized. Klein 2000 proposes a way of how to integrate prosodic structure in HPSG.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Klein, Ewan. 2000. Prosodic constituency in HPSG. In Grammatical interfaces in HPSG. Edited by Ronnie Cann, Claire Grover, and Philip Miller, 169–200. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        A proposal on how to represent prosodic structure in an HPSG-style grammar.

                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Nespor, Marina, and Irene Vogel. 1985. Prosodic phonology. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.

                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Presents a theory of how the flow of speech is organized into phonological units, ranging from the syllable to the full-fledged phonological utterance. Emphasizes the autonomy of the phonological organization with respect to syntax.

                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                          • Selkirk, Elisabeth O. 2011. The syntax-phonology interface. In The handbook of phonological theory. 2d ed. Edited by John Goldsmith, Jason Riggle, and Alan Yu. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1002/9781444343069Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Provides an overview of how different authors treat the relation between syntactic constituency and the prosodic constituent domains for sentence-level phonological and phonetic phenomena.

                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                            Formal Properties

                                                                                                                                                                            Chomsky’s definition of phrase structure grammars is part of a more comprehensive treatment of formal grammars and automata, summarized in the Chomsky hierarchy. It distinguishes regular or finite state grammars (type 3), context-free phrase structure grammars (type 2), context-sensitive phrase structure grammars (type 1), and unrestricted rewrite systems (type 0). The mathematical properties of these types have been studied in detail; see Hopcroft and Ullman 1979 for a technical treatment and Partee, et al. 1990 for a textbook introduction. The question of which type of formal grammars is most adequate for modeling natural languages has been hotly debated. Noam Chomsky has always emphasized that context-free PSGs are insufficient to model the syntactic properties of natural languages, and added transformations, making the grammar as a whole a type 0 system: see Chomsky 1957. Peters and Ritchie 1973 demonstrated that transformational grammars are too unrestricted to serve as a computable model of language processing, especially because of the deletion operations. Their arguments were picked up by the advocates of non-transformational syntax and led to alternative conceptions of PSG, with the power of (mildly) context-sensitive rewrite systems, as proposed in monostratal generative grammar: see Pullum 1991. The computational complexity of LFG and GPSG is examined in Barton, et al. 1987.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Barton, G. Edward, Robert C. Berwick, and Eric Sven Ristad.1987. Computational complexity and natural language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Investigates the computational complexity of LFG, GPSG, and Two-level Morphology.

                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                              • Chomsky, Noam. 1957. Syntactic structures. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                A concise presentation of early transformational grammar. Much attention goes to the issue of why (context free) PS grammars are insufficient to model the syntactic properties of sentences.

                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                • Hopcroft, John E., and Jeffrey D. Ullman. 1979. Introduction to automata theory, languages and computation. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  A technical treatment, aimed at computer scientists and mathematicians. Was updated in 2003 and again in 2007 by Motwani Rajeev.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Partee, Barbara H., Alice ter Meulen, and Robert Wall. 1990. Mathematical methods in linguistics. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-2213-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    A textbook introduction to mathematical methods that find important applications in linguistics, especially in syntax and model-theoretic semantics. Part E is entirely devoted to the hierarchy of languages, grammars, and automata. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Peters, Stanley, and Robert W. Ritchie. 1973. On the generative power of transformational grammars. Information Sciences 6:49–83.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/0020-0255(73)90027-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that transformations, especially deletions, add so much power to the grammar that it becomes undecidable (in the mathematical sense of the term), whether a given string is well-formed or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pullum, Geoffrey K. 1991. The great Eskimo vocabulary hoax. Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Contains a chapter (pp. 131–146) that reviews the various proofs that have been given for the claim that natural languages are not context-free, and debunks most of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Natural Language Processing

                                                                                                                                                                                        Phrase structure grammars play a double role in natural language processing. The rules and generalizations that they contain may be implemented as such and be used for parsing. This is the knowledge-based approach to NLP. Alternatively, the structures that PSG employs can be used as a basis for the induction of grammars from annotated data (treebanks). This is the data-based approach to NLP.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Parsing

                                                                                                                                                                                        Given their formal nature and the link with automata theory, it is no surprise that phrase structure grammars play an important role in computational linguistics and knowledge-based natural language processing. A good overview is provided in Jurafsky and Martin 2009. Gazdar and Mellish 1989 is somewhat dated, but unsurpassed in the clarity of exposition. Copestake 2002 demonstrates how typed feature structure grammars can be implemented. For some languages, open access, large-scale parsers are available online. For English, see the Stanford Parser. For Dutch, see Alpino. For German, see the Babel-System.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Alpino.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          This parser automatically assigns syntactic structures to Dutch sentences. The structures comprise categories, as well as dependencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Babel-System.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            This parser automatically assigns HPSG style syntactic structures to German sentences.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Copestake, Anne. 2002. Implementing typed feature structure grammars. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Provides a theoretical and practical introduction to typed feature structures and their use in computational linguistics. Covers the basics of grammar development and discusses the computational issues involved in parsing and generation. Contains a user manual for the Linguistic Knowledge Building (LKB) system.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gazdar, Gerald, and Chris Mellish. 1989. Natural language processing in PROLOG: An introduction to computational linguistics. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                A textbook introduction into the state of art in computational linguistics by the end of the 1980s. It is obviously dated, but the style of exposition is so clear that it is still useful as a first acquaintance. Contains exercises.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jurafsky, Daniel, and James H. Martin. 2009. Speech and language processing: An introduction to natural language processing, computational linguistics and speech recognition. 2d ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A textbook introduction with exercises. Chapter 13 presents parsing algorithms for context-free grammars; chapter 14 extends it to probabilistic parsers; and chapter 15 presents parsing algorithms for unification-based grammars, such as LFG and HPSG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stanford parser: A statistical parser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This parser automatically assigns syntactic structures to English sentences. The structures comprise both categorial and relational information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Treebanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Treebanks are corpora of syntactically analyzed sentences. Some are based on phrase structure grammars, others on dependency grammars. They are used for training and testing data-driven parsers, for the semi-automatic creation of dictionaries, and for fact finding in descriptive and theoretical linguistics. The oldest and best known is the Penn Treebank; see Marcus, et al. 1993. An overview of the state of the art by 2002 is provided in Abeillé 2003. The use of treebanks in theoretical linguistics is the central focus of an annual international workshop since 2002. A selection of contributions to the first installments is compiled in Hinrichs and Simov 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Abeillé, Anne, ed. 2003. Treebanks: Building and using parsed corpora. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0201-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of fifteen short pieces about issues that emerge when creating treebanks, covering English, German, Slavic, Romance, Chinese, Japanese, and Turkish, followed by six chapters about the use of treebanks in applications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hinrichs, Erhard, and Kiril Simov, eds. 2004. Special issue: Treebanks and linguistic theories. Journal on Research on Language and Computation 2.4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A selection of contributions to the first three installments of the international workshop on treebanks and linguistic theories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Marcus, Mitchell, Beatrice Santorini, and Mary Ann Marcinkiewicz. 1993. Building a large annotated corpus of English: The Penn Treebank. Computational Linguistics 19.2: 313–330.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A description of the first publicly available treebank for English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Psycholinguistics

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cognitive relevance has always been an explicit aim in generative grammar. Already in the 1950s, Noam Chomsky argued against the then-prevailing stimulus-response model in psychology, claiming that it could not account for the learnability of natural language; see Chomsky 1959. The anti-behaviorist, mentalist stance of generative grammar quickly gained acclaim in psycholinguistics; see Fodor, et al. 1974. The shift to generalization in the Government and Binding framework also attracted attention form psycholinguists; see Wexler and Culicover 1980 and Berwick and Weinberg 1984. Lightfoot 1992 explores the connection between language acquisition and language change. A good and witty introduction into Chomskyan psycholinguistics is given in Pinker 1994. Psycholinguistic relevance has recently been used as an evaluation metric for competence grammars; see Sag and Wasow 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Berwick, Robert C., and Amy S. Weinberg. 1984. The grammatical basis of linguistic performance: Language use and acquisition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Discusses the relevance of the Government and Binding model (Chomsky 1981, cited under From Transformations to Constraints on Transformations) for studying linguistic performance, focusing on computational complexity, on the one hand, and language acquisition, on the other hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Chomsky, Noam. 1959. A review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal behavior. Language 35:26–58.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/411334Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dismissal of the stimulus-response model, then prevailing in psychology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fodor, Jerry, T. Bever, and Merrill Garrett. 1974. The psychology of language: An introduction to psycholinguistics and generative grammar. New York: McGraw-Hill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reports on the first phase of Chomskyan psycholinguistics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lightfoot, David. 1992. How to set parameters: Arguments from language change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Discusses language acquisition in connection with language change in a Principles and Parameters framework.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pinker, Steven. 1994. The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: Morrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Entertaining introduction into Chomskyan psycholinguistics: “Language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats” (cover page).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sag, Ivan A., and Thomas Wasow. 2011. Performance-compatible competence grammar. In Non-transformational syntax. Edited by Robert D. Borsley and Kersti Börjars, 359–377. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1002/9781444395037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that constraint-based approaches to grammar, such as HPSG, are better suited than transformational approaches for incorporation into models of linguistic performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wexler, Kenneth, and Peter Culicover. 1980. Formal principles of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An exploratory study of the principles that govern the growth of language in the young child. The approach is that of learnability theory, a formal theory of language learning, based on the Principles and Parameters framework.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        back to top

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Down